2021 Debut Author Interview: Daniel Aleman!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and to spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun for years to come! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2021 debuts and chat with them about their writing process and what it's like to be a new author. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats, and more!

At the end of 2020, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Daniel Aleman and his novel INDIVISIBLE, and we have been interested in it ever since! We are so excited to have Daniel on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Daniel Aleman was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he is passionate about books, coffee, and dogs. After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city.

Keep up with Daniel: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?

Daniel: Thank you so much! It is honestly such a whirlwind of emotions. It’s exciting, and scary, and happy, and stressful. Ultimately, though, I’m super grateful for the opportunity to share my work, and I can’t wait for this book to reach the hands of readers. It has also been so wonderful to connect with fellow book lovers — authors, bloggers, booksellers, and librarians — and I am so excited to keep making connections within this amazing community as the publication date comes closer!

The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?

Daniel: To me, writing tends to be a journey of self-exploration. When I write, I learn so many things about myself, and how I fit into my world. I think that’s the best part of writing for me, and it’s especially true when I’m drafting. That’s when I feel closest to the story, because it still belongs to only me. Once other people read it, some of that barrier is broken, so I always try to enjoy the process of drafting as much as I can. I’d say the hardest part of the writing process has been the adaptation of doing it out of passion vs. doing it for work. For years, I wrote simply because I loved telling stories, so it’s definitely an adjustment to think of this as work. With that said, I am super grateful for the opportunity to be compensated for my writing, and I’m lucky to say that I’m in a pretty good place with my writing routine by now!

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for INDIVISIBLE?

 INDIVISIBLE came from a pretty personal place. My family and I immigrated from Mexico many years ago, and there came a time when I felt the need to tell an immigration story in my own terms. We hear so much on the news about immigration, deportation, and family separation, so I wanted to break into that conversation with a story that felt honest, and compassionate, and purely human.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?

Daniel: I’d say the answer to both is Mateo, the main character. It was difficult at times to portray his raw emotions on the page, and to write from such a personal place. When I read his narration, I hear my own voice in my head, which is why it can be scary to share this book with the world. It feels like I’m giving away pages of my diary! It’s also true that I found so much joy in telling INDIVISIBLE through this character’s eyes. As I mentioned, writing tends to be a journey of self-exploration for me, and I learned so much about myself, my world, and my identity thanks to Mateo. This character has been with me for years, so it was definitely sad to turn in the last draft of the manuscript, knowing that I’ll never go back to writing in Mateo’s voice again.

The Book Bratz: This book tackles an important issue going on today, especially in America. What kind of research goes into writing about something so involved in our current political sphere?

Daniel: There’s plenty that comes from personal experience, and from my family’s own challenges with immigration hurdles. I’ve read obsessively for years — legal texts, courthouse transcripts, and stories of people who experienced a variety of immigration-related difficulties. I also had the opportunity to connect with many wonderful people throughout the journey of writing this book, including activists and immigration lawyers.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from INDIVISIBLE?

Daniel: More than anything, I hope that readers will feel less alone after reading this book. I hope that this story will reach teenagers who need it, and who haven’t gotten to see pieces of themselves, their lives, or their families reflected in literature before. 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of INDIVISIBLE in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?

Daniel: I don’t expect to return to these characters anytime soon, since INDIVISIBLE is a standalone novel and there is no planned sequel. With that said, I have started working on my second book with Little, Brown, which I am so excited about! It is another Contemporary YA, and even though I can’t say much about it just yet, I am certain that readers of INDIVISIBLE will fall in love with this story as much as I have.

Title: Indivisible
Author: Daniel Aleman
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021

Summary: There is a word Mateo Garcia and his younger sister Sophie have been taught to fear for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade to the back of their minds. And why wouldn’t it, when their Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors? When two ICE agents come asking for Pa, the Garcia family realizes that the lives they’ve built are about to come crumbling down. And when Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken, he must come to terms with the fact that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American teenager in a country that rejects his own mom and dad.

Thank you so much to Daniel for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about INDIVISIBLE and can't wait for it to be out in the world on May 4th

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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